In 1816, legendary poet Lord Byron invited a group of friends to a home in Geneva and challenged them all to write a ghost story. It was there that Mary Shelley conceived the idea for Frankenstein, the story of a scientist who brings life to a likeness of man with disastrous consequences. Completed when she was still only 19 years old, the novel, which was first published anonymously, has never since gone out of print.
2018 marks the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein’s publication, so to celebrate we’ve collected fiction, nonfiction, and multimedia resources that explore the incredible world of Mary Shelley and her novel.
Koontz, Dean. Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein (Series)
Koontz & Anderson reimagine Mary Shelley’s classic tale, bringing the ‘creature’ to modern day New Orleans on the trail of his creator & the serial killer he has spawned.
Sims, Michael. Frankenstein Dreams: A Connoisseur’s Collection of Victorian Science Fiction
Long before 1984, Star Wars, or The Hunger Games, Victorian authors imagined a future where new science and technologies reshaped the world and universe they knew. The great themes of modern science fiction showed up surprisingly early: space and time travel, dystopian societies, even dangerously independent machines, all inspiring the speculative fiction of the Victorian era. In Frankenstein Dreams, Michael Sims has gathered many of the very finest stories, some by classic writers such as Jules Verne, Mary Shelley, and H.G. Wells, but many that will surprise general readers.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus
Mary Shelley’s classic tale about eccentric scientist Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment.
Shepard, Lynn. A Fatal Likeness
Commissioned to negotiate the release of papers linked to Frankenstein infamy, London detective Charles Maddox, whose uncle remains haunted by an unsolved mystery surrounding the Romantics literary movement, is roped into a gothic-tinged case that places him in the path of such luminaries as Lord Byron and Mary Shelley.
Zeltserman, Dave. Monster
In nineteenth-century Germany, one young man counts down the days until he can marry his beloved . . . until she is found brutally murdered, and the young man is accused of the crime. Broken on the wheel and left for dead, he awakens on a lab table, transformed into an abomination. Friedrich must go far to take his revenge –only to find his tormentor, Victor Frankenstein, in league with the Marquis de Sade, creating something much more sinister deep in the mountains. Paranormal and gripping in the tradition of the best work of Stephen King and Justin Cronin, Monster is a gruesome parable of control and vengeance, and an ingenious tribute to one of literature’s greatest
Hoobler, Dorothy. The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein
One murky night in 1816, on the shores of Lake Geneva, Lord Byron, famed English poet, challenged his friends to a contest–to write a ghost story. The assembled group
included the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley; his lover (and future wife) Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin; Mary’s stepsister Claire Claremont; and Byron’s physician, John William Polidori. And the
evening begat a curse, too: Within a few years of Frankenstein’s publication, nearly all of those involved met untimely deaths. Drawing upon letters, rarely tapped archives, and their own magisterial rereading of Frankenstein itself, Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler have crafted a rip-roaring tale of obsession and creation.
Gordon, Charlotte. Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley
This groundbreaking dual biography brings to life a pioneering English feminist and the daughter she never knew. In Romantic Outlaws, Charlotte Gordon reunites the trailblazing author who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and the Romantic visionary who gave the world Frankenstein—two courageous women who should have shared their lives, but instead shared a powerful literary and feminist legacy.
Montillo, Roseanne. The Lady and Her Monsters
The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Motillo brings to life the fascinating times, startling science, and real-life horrors behind Mary Shelley’s gothic masterpiece, Frankenstein.
Harkup, Kathryn. Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Making the Monster explores the science behind Shelley’s book. From tales of reanimated zombie kittens to electrical experiments on human cadavers, Kathryn Harkup examines the science and scientists that influenced Mary Shelley and inspired her most famous creation, Victor Frankenstein. While, thankfully, we are still far from being able to recreate Victor’s “creature,” scientists have tried to create the building blocks of life, and the dream of creating life-forms from scratch is now tantalizingly close.
Hitchcock, Susan Tyler. Frankenstein: A Cultural History
From Victorian musical theater to Boris Karloff with neck bolts, to invocations at the President’s Council on Bioethics, the monster and his myth have inspired everyone from cultural critics to comic book addicts. Susan Tyler Hitchcock uses film, literature, history, science, and even punk music to help us understand the meaning of this monster made by man.
Sampson, Fiona. In Search of Mary Shelley
Fiona Sampson pursues Mary Shelley through her turbulent life, much as Victor Frankenstein tracked his monster across the arctic wastes. Sampson has written a book that finally answers the question of how it was that a nineteen-year-old came to write a novel so dark, mysterious, anguished, and psychologically astute that it continues to resonate two centuries later.
Includes: Frankenstein (1931); Bride Of Frankenstein (1935); Son Of Frankenstein (1939); Ghost Of Frankenstein (1942); and House Of Frankenstein (1944). Also includes the original documentary The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made A Monster.
Still regarded as the definitive film version of Mary Shelley’s classic tale of tragedy and horror, Frankenstein made unknown character actor Boris Karloff a star and created a new icon of terror. Along with the highly successful Dracula, released earlier the same year, it launched Universal Studio’s golden age of 1930s horror movies.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)
Director Kenneth Branagh’s interpretation of Mary Shelley’s classic horror novel stars Robert DeNiro as a terrifying monster created in an obsessive attempt to defeat death and stretch the limits of medicine in the early 19th century.
Young Frankensein (1974)
Lending his burlesque touch to 1970s genre revision, Mel Brooks followed his hit “western” Blazing Saddles with this parody of 1930s Universal horror movies.
Victor Frankenstein (2015)
Told from Igor’s perspective, we see the troubled young assistant’s dark origins, his redemptive friendship with the young medical student Viktor Von Frankenstein, and become eyewitnesses to the emergence of how Frankenstein became the man, and the legend, we know today.
On the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s classic, how does it relate to science today? Read articles, listen to podcasts, and discover resources related to the science surrounding Frankenstein.
NPR: Did Climate Inspire the Birth of a Monster?
An All Things Considered segment exploring the relation between Mary Shelley’s classic and the strange weather patterns happening in 1818.
Overdue Podcast: Frankenstein
Hosts read Frankenstein and discuss the finer points of creature creation, Nature vs. Nurture, and answer some listener questions.
Stuff to Blow Your Mind: The Science of Frankenstein’s Monster
What are the ramifications of mad science? Frankenstein’s tortured creation has become an avatar for scientific horror. How Stuff Works explores the roots of Frankenstein’s monster, past and stories of science-gone-wrong, and provides more resources about Mary Shelley’s classic tale.
Imaginary Worlds: The Year Without a Summer
Scholars have often speculated what Frankenstein can tell us about scientific hubris or “playing God.” But Gillen D’Arcy Wood and Ron Broglio think the book has just as much to say about how we adapt to “acts of God.” In other words, Frankenstein was imagined at a time when the Earth’s climate was thrown off balance and the weather was wildly unpredictable. Sound familiar? With biographer Charlotte Gordon and readings by Lily Dorment.
CBC Radio: It’s Alive! Frankenstein at 200
In 1818, the world was introduced to an entirely new kind of monster. Mary Shelley published Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus and for two centuries her creation has stalked the stage, then the screen; inspired art, and filled the pages of countless sequels and comic books. Frankenstein’s creature has become the most famous monster of the modern era.